|Decoder Ring Theatre|
|Decoder Ring Theatre Logo|
|New Episodes||Bi-weekly - Saturdays|
|Start Date||August 27, 2005|
|Genre||Audio theatre Podcast|
Decoder Ring Theatre is a Toronto based Theatre and Audio Production company that runs an award-nominated podcast of the same name. It consists primarily of two series, The Red Panda Adventures and Black Jack Justice, both of which are done in the style of old-time radio, and alternate in six-episode runs.
The group was first formed in 1999 by actor-writer Gregg Taylor for a six part mini-series take on the adventure programs of 1940's radio. (see “Original Red Panda Mini-Series” below). The programs were created as a pilot project for traditional broadcast, and were quite broad and silly in the belief that a comic approach might broaden their commercial potential, but never made it to air. Taylor's next project returned to the theatre, and was also radio-based, leading him to keep using the “Decoder Ring” name. The original “Black Jack Justice” was a one-act farce about a very, very bad day in the life of an old-time detective radio series. The show was a great success at the 2001 Toronto Fringe Festival, and led Taylor to continue under the Decoder Ring Theatre title. The next year the company returned to the Fringe with “Prometheus Unplugged”, a comic take on the Promethean legends in which Mankind returns to Prometheus' mountain to inform God that he doesn't exist. Needless to say, God was less than thrilled.
The company was officially incorporated that year, and began a series of comic murder-mysteries to raise revenue for future projects. The series included “Murder Most Deadly”, “Death on the Avon”, “The Case of the Cockeyed Cupid” and so on. It was at this point that the company launched the first version of its website decoderringtheatre.com and included mp3 versions of the almost-forgotten Red Panda mini-series. Soon they were receiving email from all over the world asking for more, and Taylor began the long process of accumulating scripts, equipment and performers for an ongoing Podcast Audio Drama series.
A new, completely re-invented Red Panda continuity was launched as The Red Panda Adventures, losing the parody and playing much straighter to the conventions of old-time radio and comic books. And the eponymous play-within-a-play from Black Jack Justice was revived, with its battling central characters, and launched as a sister show. On October 15th, 2005 Decoder Ring Theatre officially left behind the greasepaint and empty chairs of the theatre for the much, much bigger room of the Internet.
In 2006, the podcast was nominated for a Parsec Award for Best Audio Drama (short), specifically for The Red Panda Adventures,, and was also one of the final five nominees for the People's Choice Podcast Awards' "Cultural/Arts" category. On August 25, 2006, the first seasons of The Red Panda Adventures, and on September 12, 2006 Black Jack Justice, were made available on separate feeds at Podiobooks.com. In 2007, the podcast was again one of the final nominees for the People's Choice Podcast Awards' "Cultural/Arts" category.
The Decoder Ring EnsembleEdit
- Denise Anderson
- Shannon Arnold
- Michael Booth
- Steven Burley
- Niles Caulder
- Gregory Z. Cooke
- Monica Coté
- Julie Florio
- Peter Higginson
- Evan Jones
- M. John Kennedy
- Dave Kynaston
- Lesley Livingston
- Jonathan Llyr
- Christopher "Doc" Lockett
- Crysta Luszczek
- Andrea Lyons
- Andrew Merzetti
- Christopher Mott
- Scott Moyle
- Peter Nicol
- Kevin Robinson
- Clarissa Der Nederlanden Taylor
- Gregg Taylor
- Tim Vant
- Brian Vaughn
Deck Gibson, Far Reach CommanderEdit
Current Series In the summer of 2007, Decoder Ring Theatre released the Summer Showcase, an anthology featuring six new podcasts showcasing stories by different writers. The most popular of these were two episodes of the space opera "Deck Gibson, Far Reach Commander", written and created by Parsec Award-winning author Matt Wallace (The Failed Cities Monologues).
In the summer of 2008, Deck Gibson became an ongoing series with the introduction of 6 new episodes. The podcast chronicles the adventures of Deck Gibson as he follows the mission of the Far Reach Fleet: to explore, to discover, to defend. Now he soars beyond frontiers of the galaxy never before seen by human eyes.
- Deck Gibson
- Once an ace pilot and crack gunner for the feared Quasar Corps of Earth (Call sign: Draco), Deck was lost in the depths of space after a brutal space battle, his damaged starfighter rescued by the alien Far Reach Fleet. He now pilots the Far Reach 1. He has a younger brother named Billy. His father piloted a Comet Tail starfighter for 20 years in the Quasar Corps under the call sign "Titan"
- Voice Actor: Jonathan Llyr is Deck Gibson.
- Little is known about the feminine voice that delivers mission orders to the Commanders of the Far Reach Fleet, not even her location at Far Reach Fleet Headquarters.
- Voice Actor: Lesley Livingston is Control.
- Rick Stringer
- The only other human to ever join the Far Reach Fleet, Commander Stringer piloted the Far Reach 12 until he was killed in battle with the Sneg known as "Black Scales". Before joining the Far Reach Fleet, Stringer had led the dissident Earth group "Citizens of the Milky Way", advocates for open borders and integration with alien races.
- Voice Actor: ? is Rick Stringer.
- Black Scales
- Captain of the Sneg pirate barge, "The Slither".
- Voice Actor: Steven Burley is Black Scales.
- A ward of the Stardust Dancers who was prophesied to destroy Haznon, the ruler of the insectoid Dran Empire, at the end of the universe. She is the last known member of the Hylemna [sp?], a powerful race of beings now all but extinct.
- Voice Actor: Monica Coté is Entheriel.
- Lt. Jason T. McDowell
- Once a member of an elite Quasar Corps squadron (Call sign: Hercules) along with "Helix", "Craterface", "Blackeye", "Dumbbell", "Eight-burst", "California" and squadron leader Deck "Draco" Gibson. "Herc" was assigned to terminate his friend Deck under the belief that Gibson was a traitor giving Earth's secrets to the Far Reach Fleet.
- Voice Actor: Gregg Taylor is Lt. Jason T. McDowell.
Known Alien RacesEdit
- The Sneg
- A race of crocodile-men, brutal creatures only interested in plunder. Their thick, scaly hides can withstand the vacuum of space.
- List of Known Members
- Stardust Dancers
- A race of scientists and healers annihilated by the xenocidal Quasar Corps.
- List of Known Members
- Known to Earthers as "Plutonium Men", these radioactive metallic beings generate intense amounts of energy and travel in bio-metallic starships.
- List of Known Members
- Dran Empire
- A race of insectoid conquerors.
- List of Known Members
- ↑ ""Parsec Awards Website"". http://www.parsecawards.com/nominees.html. Retrieved 2006-09-24.
- ↑ ""Canada's Greatest Superhero Launches Second Season of Podcast Adventures"". http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/October2006/03/c4425.html. Retrieved 2006-09-24.